VIDEO: Hats off to High Town

Happy shoppers went mad for hats at the official opening of High Hats in High Town on Tuesday.

The colourful new addition to High Town Road is part of a community rejuvanatation project in the area.

High Hats shop opens  High Town Road, Luton.

High Hats shop opens High Town Road, Luton.

The High Town Team decided to host the hat shop and micro-museuem to help locals discover more about the town’s hat making-industry.

Run by Luton Culture and local volunteers, High Hats is in the exact building in which a straw hat manufacturer called Minnie Bonner worked over a hundred years ago, from 1894 until about 1898.

High Hats has an assortment of hats and fascinators for people to look at and buy, with prices ranging from £5 - £200.

There’s also displays about Snoxalls and workshops on everything from creating your own fascinator to decorating hat-boxes.

The Mayor of Luton opened the shop officially on September 10, and visitors enjoyed refreshments at the Painters Arms pub next door.

Luton is famous for its hata-making past and present.

According to High Hats, straw plaiting and the making of straw hats and bonnets was well established in Bedfs and Herts by the end of the 17th century.

A petition presented to parliament in 1689, against a bill which would require people to wear woollen headwear, claimed that over 14,000 people living in and around Luton and Dunstable, earned their living from the making of straw hats.

Within High Town there were hat block manufacturers, bleachers and dyers, bonnet sew-ers and box makers, as well as suppliers of feathers, ribbons, flowers and other materials.

High Town contained a mix of larger factories and houses with rooms built onto the back for use as family businesses.

Many families produced hats which were sent to destinations all across the world.

To find out more, visit High Hats at 77 High Town Road. Opening hours are Thursdays and Fridays, 11am - 6pm, and Saturdays 10am- 5pm.

See for more on High Hats.